Australian news, and some related international items

Electrical trades Union of Australia dispels the hype about Generation IV Nuclear Reactors

submission goodElectrical Trades Union,  Graham Glover Submission to  South Australian Government Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

Extract .”……..‘Generation IV’ technologies are the fast breeder reactor, the integral fast reactor, the thorium reactor and the small modular reactor.
Because the fast breeder and integral fast reactors can ‘breed’ more nuclear fuel, in the form of plutomium-239, than they consume, their use could significantly reduce uranium mining and hence the carbon dioxide emissions from mining and milling.
But they are even more complex, expensive, dangerous and conducive to proliferation compared to older nuclear reactors. Despite several decades of pilot and demonstration plants, these technologies have not been successfully commercialised and may never be.
Nuclear proponents try to justify the integral fact reactor and the thorium reactor on the fallacious grounds that they cannot be used to produce nuclear weapons explosives. However, if not used according to instructions by governments that control it, the integral fast reactors can actually make it easier to extract weapons-grade plutonium.
Thorium is much more abundant than uranium, but to be useful as a nuclear fuel, thorium has to be converted to uranium-233, which can be fissioned either in a nuclear reactor or a nuclear bomb.ButThe small modular reactor has been a dream of the nuclear industry for decades, which hopes that mass production could make its electricity cheaper than from existing large reactors. However, offsetting this is the latter’s economy of scale. The Union of Concerned Scientists has serious safety and security concerns about small modular reactors.

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September 21, 2015 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Yeelirrie, Western Australia Uranium project – the fight is just beginning

text-uranium-hypeState and National environment organisations have reinforced their strong opposition to the planned Yeelirrie uranium mine following the release of Cameco’s Public Environment Review (PER).

Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner from the Australian Conservation Foundation said “Cameco have clearly stated that uranium projects are not feasible with the current uranium price. The release of the PER is about a paper approval, this project is a long way from a done deal.

“There is longstanding and ongoing opposition from many Aboriginal people and other stakeholders. Seeking to advance a project that is not viable and where the company has no short to medium term development plans is reckless and unreasonable.”

“The Walkatjurra Walkabout just weeks ago walked through Yeelirrie and heard very moving testimonies from local pastoralists and Aboriginal elders who are united in the opposition to the project.”

Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of WA said “This is a ‘smash and grab’ that totally disregards the concerns of the community and does little to minimise environmental damage. Cameco plan to cut the life of the mine in half by doubling the impact area and the risk of dust compared with previous plans for the ore body.”

“Cameco having a shocking record overseas and face court in Canada and the US this year over tax avoidance charges.”

The company’s operations in Canada have been criticised by Canadian regulators who have said “When you put the pieces together, they build a story of really fundamental issues about the competence of the company.” Prof. Christopher Barnes, geologist and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission member, 2003.

September 21, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How likely is it that 2015 will be the new warmest year on record? #Auspol


Anthony Arguez1, Scott Applequist1, Michael C. Kruk2, Michael F. Squires1, and Russell S. Vose1
Global surface temperatures have remained at or near record-warm levels throughout 2015, leading many to prognosticate that 2015 will eclipse 2014 as the warmest year on record1-3, perhaps by a relatively large margin.

Based on the latest data from NOAA’s global surface temperature dataset (NOAAGlobalTemp), the 2015 global temperature average through July is running 0.09°C (0.16°F) above the 2014 average and 0.13°C above the January-July 2014 average. That might not seem like a lot, but 2014 eclipsed 2010 as the warmest year on record by an even smaller margin, 0.04°C.

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September 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Submissions on Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium project 21 September to 14 December 2015

Yeelirrie Uranium Project
Public Environmental Review
(Public Review Period: 21 September to 14 December 2015)

Submissions regarding the proposal should be submitted to the EPA. The EPA prefers submissions to be made electronically via itsconsultation hub.

Alternatively submissions can be:

  • posted to: Chairman, Environmental Protection Authority, Locked Bag 10, EAST PERTH WA 6892; or
  • delivered to the Environmental Protection Authority, Level 8, The Atrium, 168 St Georges Terrace, Perth.

If you have any questions on how to make a submission, please ring the Office of the EPA on (08) 6145 0800.

September 21, 2015 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull disappoints on Climate Change Policy

Turnbull climate 2 facedMalcolm Turnbull’s Faustian pact on climate change is heartbreaking, Guardian, 
Mark Butler, 19 Sep 15   Many Australians hoped the new PM would drag the Coalition back to the sensible centre on climate change – but he has swallowed Abbott’s Direct Action hook, line and sinker…………..
Many Australians held out very high hopes that Mr Turnbull’s return to the leadership of the Liberal party would see him drag the party back to the sensible centre on climate change — that there would be the hope of Australia again regaining a bipartisan consensus that would allow us to move forward in the way that so many of our sister nations around the world are doing……

The old Malcolm Turnbull was clear in his advocacy of an emissions trading scheme as the cheapest and most effective means of reducing carbon pollution. We have heard him say, so many times, particularly in that critical period of debate in 2009 and 2010, that a policy like Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund would be “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”.

Well, apparently it’s all different now. Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy is apparently now a “very, very good piece of work”. In parliament, the new prime minister praised the emissions reduction fund’s first auction, which spent about $650 m of taxpayer funds. Forty seven million tonnes of carbon pollution reductions were purchased under this first auction. What the prime minister has not said is that of those 47 m tonnes, three quarters, or 34 m tonnes, were from projects that already existed and in some cases had existed for more than 10 years, including with big companies like AGL — the largest polluter in Australia. Taxpayers are paying for things that those companies were already doing.

The second element of Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy, the safeguards mechanism, was released earlier this month, and it exceeded everyone’s worst expectations. RepuTex, the leading modelling agency in this area, has provided very clear advice that, under this safeguards policy, the biggest 20 polluters in Australia will not be touched whatsoever. And the biggest 150 polluters in this country will increase their emissions by 20% over the next 15 years. The Grattan Institute said in response to the release of the safeguards policy: “It is called a safeguard, but it is not an environmental safeguard. Greg Hunt is not actually constraining emissions; if it is going to work it is going to have to have teeth, but all we have got is gums.”

It’s not surprising then that we’ve seen emissions starting to rise again. Under Direct Action, 2020 levels of carbon pollution will be substantially higher than they are today, and substantially higher than they were in 2000 or in 2005.

The government’s own projections suggest that, in 2020, carbon pollution levels in Australia will be 655 m tonnes against 559 m tonnes in 2000 — so, not 5% below 2000 levels, 17% above 2000 levels. RepuTex was more generous to the government than the government’s own modelling. It said only last month that, in 2020, carbon emissions will be 613 m tonnes against 559 m tonnes — so 10% above 2000 levels………..

September 21, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Why the Nuclear Regulatory C ommission cancelled its nuclear site cancer study

hypocrisy-scaleNuclear power kills! The real reason the NRC cancelled its nuclear site cancer study Chris Busby 19th September 2015 

The US’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission just cancelled its study into cancer near nuclear plants citing the ‘excessive cost’ of $8 million, writes Chris Busby. Of course that’s rubbish – similar studies in the UK have been carried out for as little as £600 per site, and in any case $8 million is small change for the NRC. The real reason is to suppress the unavoidable conclusion: nuclear power kills.

After spending some $1.5 million and more than five years on developing strategies to answer the question of increases of cancer near nuclear facilities, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) last week reported that they would not continue with the process. They would knock it on the head [1].

This poisoned chalice has been passed between the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the NRC since 2009 when public and political pressure was brought to bear on the USNRC to update a 1990 study of the issue, a study which was widely seen by the public to be a whitewash.

Dr Chris Busby at the Royal Society on Scientific Dishonesty

The NCR quickly passed the unwelcome task up to the NAS. It requested that the NAS provide an assessment of cancer risks in populations living ‘near’ the NRC-licenced nuclear facilities that utilize and process Uranium. This included 104 operating nuclear reactors in 31 States and 13 fuel cycle facilities in operation in 10 States.

The NRC request was to be carried out by NAS in two phases. Phase 1 was a scoping study to inform design of the study to be begun in Phase 2 and to recommend the best organisation to carry out the work.

The Phase 1 report was finished in May 2012. The best ‘state of the art’ methods were listed and the job of carrying out the actual study, a pilot study, was sent to: Guess who? The NRC. The poisoned chalice was back home. The NRC was now in a corner: what could they do?

If you don’t like the truth … suppress it

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September 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan’s giant wolffish NOT the result of Fukushima nuclear radiation

The Guy Who Caught the Internet’s Favorite Giant Fish Is Bummed No One Gets It, Motherboard by EMIKO JOZUKA September 18, 2015 Earlier this week, an odd-looking gargantuan fish from Japan became a minor celebrity on Twitter. But the tide soon turned as curious reactions gave way to harmful rumors that its strange appearance is the result of the effects of radiationfrom the Fukushima disaster.

The fish, however, was no radioactive specimen. It was a Bering wolffish (Anarhichas orientalis)—a species found off the coast of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. It also just happens to look like a cross between a grumpy grandpa and a monster.


When rumors broke of the fish’s supposed contamination, no one was more disappointed than the man who captured the creature: Hiroshi Hirasaka, a reporter and researcher who “lives life in pursuit of odd-looking creatures.”

“The wolffish I caught was given write-ups on the internet as ‘monster as a result of nuclear accident,'” Hiroshi Hirasaka, the man who caught the fish, told me. Hirasaka initially tweeted the photo because he was proud of his catch, but he soon became devastated by the rapid-fire spread of false internet buzz around the fish.

“That fish has been in [Hokkaido] for a long time, so it’s not feasible for it to be affected by radiation. It’s rude to the fish to say that, and it’s not cool to blame everything on radiation,” Hirasaka said. “Creatures only become big in the world of science fiction, and we’re not living in the world of Hulk or Godzilla.”………

“I find slightly odd, grotesque or scary fish interesting,” Hirasaka told me. “There will always be other writers who report on the beautiful creatures of this world, but I want other people to understand the allure of more ugly specimens.”

As for the internet rumour—he tried debunking it on Twitter, but admitted that the misunderstanding was probably still developing out of his sight and control.

“People in Japan are used to seeing that fish in aquariums, but I guess other people don’t know it. I’m not sure if it was a joke or not, but I was sad to think that they thought it was like that because of nuclear radiation,” said Hirasaka. “I just want them to have the correct information.”

September 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tesla’s Powerwall battery for solar storage about to disrupt Australia’s energy market

Parkinson-Report-Tesla’s Powerwall will give its first taste of disruption to Australia’s energy market, Guardian, 19 Sep 15  Giles Parkinson With plenty of sunshine for solar panels and unprepared network operators, fast-tracking Powerwall into Australia’s energy market is a savvy move. 

The arrival of the Powerwall Tesla battery storage unit in Australia will herald the biggest challenge to Australia’s electricity industry for decades.

Tesla announced on Thursday that it is fast-tracking the roll-out of its battery storage product. Australia will be its first market for the 7kWh household units. The first deliveries had not been expected until well into 2017.

battey TeslaThe Tesla Powerwall is not the first or even the cheapest battery storage maker to enter the Australian market but it is the most ubiquitous brand.

It threatens to do to incumbent business models what Uber is doing to the taxi industry, and Facebook, Twitter and Amazon did to traditional publishing.

Tesla is targeting the Australian market first because it is ripe for change. It has high electricity prices, excellent sun, lots of rooftop solar (more than 4,400MW on more than 1.4m homes). Its tariff structure should make it attractive for households and businesses to store their solar output in a box for use in the evening, rather than giving it away for next to nothing to the grid.

There are a range of predictions on how quickly battery storage will be adopted in Australia. Some suggest that the combination of a solar array and battery storage is already cheaper than grid power in some areas, others suggest it will be another five years before the combination is cheap enough to become a mass market.

But the promised benefits to consumers could be undermined because of a major turf war between the incumbent utilities whose business models are being threatened by the new technology, and because regulators are so slow to act. Continue reading

September 21, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Tax-payers likely to be hit with big costs of mines rehabilitation


State governments calculate the required rehabilitation bonds using a standard formula but Dr Erskine said the mining companies work off their own, and often very different numbers.

“The rehabilitation costs held independently by the mining companies are often much larger than the rehabilitation bonds paid to state governments,”

“what we see are mines placed into care and maintenance where the mining companies can avoid paying out rehabilitation bonds because the mine isn’t officially closed.”
Industry insider warns taxpayers may foot bill for mine rehabilitation unless government, industry step up ABC TV  Landline 

By the National Reporting Team’s Lisa Main and Dominique Schwartz , 19 Sep 15 

An environmental scientist who works with the mining industry has broken ranks to warn that Australian taxpayers will be left with a bill running into tens of billions of dollars unless government and industry start taking mine rehabilitation seriously.

Key points

  • More than 50,000 abandoned mines in Australia
  • Scientist says mines must be rehabilitated
  • Report says rehabilitation bonds ‘insufficient’
  • Concerns over Peabody Energy’s plummeting share price prompts rehabilitation bonds questions

Dr Peter Erskine from the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute said although state governments hold financial securities for mine rehabilitation, they are nowhere near enough.

Across Australia there are more than 50,000 abandoned mines — a legacy of the early mining days when resource companies simply walked away when the profits dried up.

To avoid repeating its past, Dr Erskine said Australia must ensure that operating mines are properly and progressively rehabilitated while they are turning a profit.

What is in the rehabilitation kitty? Continue reading

September 21, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

The Global Climate Leadership Review 2015

climate-changeNew Climate Institute report: The Global Climate Leadership Reviewantnuke-relevant 2015: What the Paris negotiations mean for Australia and our economy September 18, 2015. The Global Climate Leadership Review 2015: What the Paris negotiations mean for Australia and our economy summarises global climate developments in the lead up to the Paris climate negotiations in late 2015. It explores what success in Paris would look like and also the impact of the agreement on the global and Australian economies.

The report is accompanied by a short video animation addressing the same issues.

The report is also part of the broader project, Focus on Paris & Beyond, that The Climate Institute has conducted throughout 2015. Reports, factsheets, infographics and other content can be accessed here on the project page.

Download the 5-page report at:

(And check out other recent Climate Institute reports and projects, media releases and briefs and multimedia available at:

September 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Malcoolm Turnbull advised to make climate and energy policy central

*Climate Institute Media Release: New Turnbull government should make climate and energy policy central
15 September 2015. The Climate Institute today urged the new Turnbull government to make climate and energy policy central to its plan to modernise the economy.

“All parties and all leaders who say they are serious about climate change need a plan for the modernisation and decarbonisation of our economy,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

(Check out the Climate Institute’s other news and latest work at:
Peter Christoff: If he wants to win an election, Turnbull should go back to his old self on climate
September 18, 2015. In backing Abbott’s existing climate policy, Malcolm Turnbull looks like appeasing his party. But his prospects would be better served by appealing to voters who are anxious for strong climate action.

September 21, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment